We haven't even scratched the surface. What about all those casino deals Sharon was wrapped up in for Gaza? Does Olmert have a connection to that? How much of this was a win-win situation for Olmert--take the money for a favor and also curry favor from Sharon?
I hope this investigation goes and goes until it hits, sticks, and we loe Olmert for good.
DRUNK WITH POWER
By ANDY SOLTIS
May 14, 2008 -- The mystery payoff in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's half-million dollar corruption scandal was revealed yesterday - minibars.
Israeli police interrogated a Las Vegas casino billionaire about whether he bought minibars for his hotels to help out the Long Island businessman suspected of bribing Olmert.
Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., said he didn't recall anything about Olmert's alleged attempt to steer minibar business to Morris Talansky of Woodmere.
Talansky is the key figure in the probe that threatens to topple Olmert's government just as the Bush administration is pushing him to reach a historic peace with the Palestinians.
Investigators suspect that over a period of several years before Olmert became prime minister, he and his aides received $480,000 in cash-filled envelopes from Talansky, sources said.
Until yesterday, there was no indication of what Talansky, 75, might have gotten in return.
But fraud-squad detectives acknowledged yesterday they were looking into whether Olmert asked Adelson to buy minibars from a Talansky-linked company for his casino empire, which stretches from the Venetian in Vegas to the Sands in Macao.
Police suspect Olmert wrote to Adelson and at least one other hotel mogul, asking them to buy Talansky's minibars, the newspaper Haaretz reported. But no minibars were sold to them.
A spokesman for Adelson's hotels didn't return calls yesterday.
Talansky's connection to the minibar firm first gained attention last week, when it was alleged that the company picked up the $4,000 cost of Olmert's stay at a Washington hotel in 2005.
The probe is an embarrassment for Adelson and Olmert, who meets a visiting President Bush today.
Adelson and Olmert sat beside one another last night at the President's Conference in Jerusalem, which Adelson helped sponsor.
Meanwhile, Israeli detectives yesterday questioned another US billionaire and strong supporter of Israel, Daniel Abraham, in the wide-ranging corruption probe. Olmert was investigated in 2006 and 2007 for allegedly selling his Jerusalem home to Abraham, former owner of Slim-Fast, for an inflated $2.7 million price.
Yesterday, probers raided Israel's Trade and Ministry office, which Olmert once headed, a day after they raided Jerusalem City Hall, where Olmert served as mayor for 10 years.
Detectives are said to be looking into whether Olmert helped Talansky's associates buy rezoned land in Jerusalem.
Olmert has denied any wrongdoing, and has offered to resign if indicted.